Course Overview

The MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice is a pioneering programme that prepares students for a range of careers in film, screenwriting and media related areas. The film and media industries today offer a broad mix of employment opportunities, including in academia, film and media practice and arts administration. This programme responds to this changing environment combining a strong academic focus on the critical and historical study of film with modules incorporating aspects of digital film practice, screenwriting or reflecting on film’s role in arts administration and festival curation. This programme allows students to pursue either an academic focused pathway or a practice-based approach to film, including the possibility of completing a feature-length screenplay during the academic year.

There are some scholarship opportunities available for this programme. Please visit the MA (Humanities) Scholarships website for more information.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

To see, in advance, what supporting documents are required to supplement your online application please visit:

Who Teaches this Course

Lecturers on the programme include:

Dr. Seán Crosson, M.Phil, PhD
Seán Crosson is the programme director and contributes modules on Irish Cinema and research methods. His research interests include Irish cinema and Sport cinema and his current research project examines the representation of sport in film in Ireland and internationally. His publications include Sport and Film (Routledge, 2013), the co-edited volumes Contemporary Irish Film: New Perspectives on a National Cinema (Braumüller, 2011) and The Quiet Man ... and Beyond: Reflections on a Classic Film, John Ford and Ireland (Liffey Press, 2009); and a broad range of journal articles and book chapters on aspects of Irish film and Sport cinema.

Dr. Conn Holohan, M.A., PhD
Conn Holohan lectures on modules in Critical Theory, Gender, Sexuality & Cinema and Digital Film and Culture. His research interests include space and place in cinema, Deleuzian film theory and short films. His publications include Cinema on the Periphery: Contemporary Irish and Spanish Cinema (Irish Academic Press 2010) as well as numerous book chapters and articles on space and place in European cinema and short films.

Dr. Tony Tracy, M.A. PhD
Tony lectures on modules in Film History (European and Hollywood), and Film Exhibition, Admin & Education. His research interests include representations of race, gender and ethnicity, Irish cinema, silent film and film education. His publications include articles on all these topics as well as co-edited collections on John Huston (McFarland, 2008) and Masculinity and Irish Popular Culture (Palgrave, 2014). He is founding editor of the annual review of Irish film and TV in Estudios lrlandeses.

Requirements and Assessment

Assessments on the programme are designed to develop students’ writing and presentation skills, as well as their ability to undertake individual and group work and to critically assess their own work and that of their peers. Assessments include essays, presentations, and blog or journal postings, as well as exercises in digital practice, module design and festival curation.  Students have the opportunity to specialise in a particular aspect of the programme through a  16,000–18,000 word minor dissertation OR a practice-based project consisting of a video essay accompanied by a 7,000-word dissertation, which is submitted in early August.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree or equivalent, H2.2. GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. Students who do not meet the honours degree requirement but have a Level 7 degree (Merit 1) may be admitted to the PDip course with the possibility of progressing to the MA if they receive a minimum of 60% in their course work during the year. Applicants are required to submit a writing sample consisting of either a graded academic essay or a review essay of a recent film (1,000 words) and a personal statement with their application.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time | 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting

MA—90, PG Dip—60


MA, PDip. Students may only apply for the MA in Film Studies. Those who do not meet the minimum entry requirements may be admitted with relevant professional experience via a qualifying exam, or be admitted to the PDip.


Course code

GYA09 full-time | GYA10 part-time

Course Outline

The course may be taken as a full-time degree taken over a twelve-month period (September to August) OR as a Part-Time Degree taken over a twenty-four month period. The year is divided into two teaching semesters (September to December and January to April). The summer period (year 2 in the Part-Time programme) will be used to complete an 18,000 minor dissertation OR undertake a practice-based project consisting of either a video essay accompanied by a 7000 word extended essay OR a feature-length screenplay. The full-time programme comprises four core seminar courses during the academic year and a choice of a range of options (plus a research methods seminar) over two 12-week semesters. Part-time students will take half of these modules each year.

  Core modules:

  • Critical Theory I & II (Semester 1 and 2)
  • Film History I: Hollywood & Genre
  • Digital Film & Culture

Optional Modules may include:

  • Film History II: Cinema Beyond Hollywood since 1945
  • Ireland on Screen
  • Gender, Sexuality and Cinema
  • Screenwriting Fundamentals
  • Screenplay Development
  • Digital Play & Practice
  • Film Exhibition, Admin & Education

Module details for full time course

Module details for part time course

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Why Choose This Course?
As a student on this programme you will experience small, intimate classes providing close interaction with lecturers and industry professionals. Classes are taught by leading film academics and practitioners who have made substantial contributions to their disciplines in Ireland and internationally. This programme is designed for students who want to deepen their knowledge of the world’s cinemas and the very latest approaches to studying them. It will train students in a wide range of film-related careers, including teaching, programming and exhibition, screenwriting, curatorial work, and arts journalism. There are also opportunities for graduates to undertake further research at PhD level. Furthermore, as a student at the Huston School you will be part of a collaborative creative community, working with students across a range of MA programmes to develop your understanding of film theory and practice. You will also have all the opportunities which come from studying at one of the world’s top Universities, including access to a range of seminars and high-profile guest speakers, who have in the past included Gabriel Byrne, Laura Mulvey, Seamus McGarvey, Stephen Rea, Lenny Abrahamson, Mark O’Halloran, Colin McArthur, James Cromwell, John Boorman, Evan Goldberg, Roddy Doyle, John Carney and Atom Egoyan.

Career Opportunities
Graduates have gone on to further research at PhD level and have acquired positions as lecturers and researchers in third level institutions. Graduates have also found employment in a range of film festival, film and media production, and journalism roles, including university lecturer, television producer, publisher’s production assistant, film producer and director, newspaper editor, journalist, teacher, theatre administrator, and film festival programmer.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224. 

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Dr Sean Crosson
Huston School of Film & Digital Media
NUI Galway
T:  +353 91 495 687 

What Our Students Say


Kharma Jones |   Current student

I did a lot of research before deciding to apply to NUI Galway for my Masters degree in Film Studies. I knew I wanted a great program, but I also wanted a city that would make me feel at home. Once I arrived to Galway, I realized I would fit right in. The film students and teachers share my passion for film. The program is challenging, but I’ve learned so much. I also can’t say enough about Galway. There’s a lot of opportunity here to gain experience and build a resume, and it’s a beautiful town full of friendly people. I’ve made so many friends here that I’m considering staying!

Gar O’Brien |   MA Film Studies 2006: Programme Director Galway Film Fleadh

What I really wanted was to be able to study cinema in a more detailed and comprehensive manner than the few classes I had done as an undergraduate. I soon found myself in a class of like-minded individuals where we were guided, supported and encouraged, not only to learn about everything from genre and auteur theory to the relationship between situationist politics and art cinema, but also to find our own voice and express our passion for cinema. This had a profound effect on me and led to my current position as Programme Director of the Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland’s leading film festival and film market. The experience and knowledge attained in my Master’s degree has proven invaluable in negotiating the complex world of the festival circuit.

Aoife O'Connor |   MA Film Studies, 2012

For anyone thinking about embarking on a postgraduate course in Film Studies, I cannot recommend the Huston School enough. Students are provided with the tools to engage with film on an academic level but in a congenial environment, something which I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced. It was a brilliant year , studying something which I am passionate about and meeting wonderful people along the way.